The Centre for International Maritime Affairs, Ghana (CIMAG) has urged the government to call on the Ghana Community Network (GCNet) Services Limited and West Blue to assist the Universal Pass/Integrated Customs Management Systems (ICUMS).
The Centre said it would be fair to call for their assistance because of the current complexities ICUMS was having with rippling effects on the operations of freight forwarders and revenue generation.
A statement jointly signed by Mr Albert Fiatui, the Executive Director of CIMAG and Mr Bismark Ameyaw, the Director of Research and Advocacy at the Centre said an end-to-end system deployed by Ghana Link Network Services – the company spearheading the deployment of the ICUMS - was a good idea but its successful implementation may have eluded them.
The statement said the complexities in the system had caused goods to be cleared manually at the ports thereby, posing revenue risk to the country.
It said the Centre had initially asked several questions including; the preparedness, competence, and integrity of the system and the first-year abrogation clause in the trade facilitation deal with which Ghana Link responded with an article entitled "UNIPASS Ghana's best bet in deploying a single window".
The statement said CIMAG after carefully analyzing port operations for over a year called on Ghana Link and GCNet to understand their port operation systems and procedures.
It said “For the sake of objectivity, we knew Ghana Link will face numerous challenges if the ICUMS is fully deployed.
The reason being that GCNet after being in operation for more than twenty-years was able to demonstrate to CIMAG the superiority of their operating system.
Although Ghana Link provided us with a pictorial diagram of how their operating system looks like, we are waiting on Ghana Link to provide technical knowledge from expertise with regards to the stepwise processes involved in deploying such a system,” the statement added.
It said knowing that the ICUMS was ready to be fully deployed, CIMAG was hoping for a successful deployment, but there is difficulty uploading old manifests in Ghana Customs Management System (GCMS) to ICUMS.
It noted: “Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN) inputted in ICUMS fails to generate consignee details posing difficulties in processing import documents.”
It said Ghana Link made it clear to CIMAG that their help desk was fully equipped with personnel with technical expertise in ICUMS, but the help desk is amateurish because the technical personnel deployed by Ghana Link are seemingly lost concerning the operations of ICUMS.
Among the challenges, it said the valuation and declaration report sees longer processing time and hence the call to encourage GCNet and West Blue to provide technical assistance to Ghana Link.
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